The actor, who is perhaps best known for his performance as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey, will take point as the unsightly Beast in Bill Condon’s upcoming live-action fairytale, a role he considers to be the “most challenging” he’s ever taken on. Chatting to IGN at the ongoing TV Critics Association press tour, Stevens spoke about the demanding physicality of Beauty and the Beast, which had him donning 10-inch stilts and a creature mask during filming.
“Physically, the Beast is the most challenging role I’ve taken on. The condition I had to have my body in to puppeteer that suit on stilts was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, seriously. The kind of engagement — and actually a lot of dance involved in that role, albeit on stilts; it was a very, very intense dance training process — has gotten me more physically engaged with all of my performances in everything else since.”
For all of the painstaking effort that went into the creative process, the end result is something truly spectacular. From early promos alone, we’ve seen that Beast is able to display truly nuanced emotion, which is as much a testimony to the film’s CGI work as it is Dan Stevens’ performance. He’s one of the many top-tier actors on board for Beauty and the Beast, with the cast list also featuring Emmas Watson and Thompson as Belle and Mrs. Potts, respectively, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Audra McDonald as Gaderobe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere.
It’s a tale as old as time and on March 17, Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast redo will grace theaters. It’s one of many, many live-action reboots brewing over at Disney, including Cruella, Dumbo, The Lion King, and much more.